Hi, I’m Kara from It’s a Dog Lick Baby World! Sarah is getting ready to run her first half marathon and she asked me to share some of my great wisdom for prepping for race day.
By the time you hit the week before a race, all of your long runs are done and you’re usually tapering. Since you can’t use your nervous energy to run, you can fret about everything else instead. Even if you’re normally a calm person, you’ll find yourself thinking about your race outfit and questioning every little decision.
In the week before the race, hydration is critical. You can’t just drink some extra water on race morning and expect that to make a difference! You need to take in an additional 32 ounces of water every day in that week prior and if possible, avoid caffeine and alcohol. If your life drives you drink, then just try to follow the rule of alternating drinks with water.
If you’re running anything less than a half marathon, carb loading isn’t necessary (sorry). For a half, eat some extra carbs (like 300 calories worth) for the 2 days before the race. For a marathon, add in a little more (closer to 500) for the 2-3 days before a race. This isn’t a scientific formula, so figure out what works for you! I should probably say to make those carbs count and eat whole grains, but that’s just boring. I carb load with fun stuff like Sun Chips and chocolate and I haven’t died in a race yet.
Once you hit race week, start obsessively checking the weather. This doesn’t really help much unless you’re 72 hours out, but it does give you something to do while tapering. If the forecast is for rain, don’t fret, just double up on Body Glide and Vaseline. Personally, I use Vaseline (or the generic rip-off kind because I’m a cheap bastard) on my feet and then Body Glide on other chafing-prone areas. This is one of those things you should figure out in your training runs, which brings us to the main point:
Don’t try anything new on race day!
Seriously, I heard someone died from trying a new flavor of Gu on race day. No, that’s a lie, but trust me you don’t want to find out that your cute new race shorts ride up and give everyone a show in the middle of a public race. Your long training runs are for more than just getting in shape, it’s a dress rehearsal for race day. Figure out what nutrition/hydration combo you need for optimum performance (or survival) and test out clothes for comfort. I have some shorts that are fine for an 8 mile run but kill me for an 18 mile run. If they are handing out some strange energy drink during the race, don’t try it for the first time while you’re running. Also, don’t get new shoes for race day (even though they’re so pretty and white!). It takes about 30 miles to break in new shoes and you don’t want to do all that breaking in at once (unless you hate your feet).
Once you’ve finally lined up at that start line, try to avoid comparisons. Yeah, there is some dude over there in a fancy race singlet with 2% body fat who is probably going to beat you by an hour, but who cares? You’re in a race against yourself, not Blondie McSpandex in front of you. Remember to enjoy the experience (especially since races are usually pricey!) and do the race to the best of your abilities on that particular day. Everyone has bad runs and sometimes those happen on race days, but if you have a great race, enjoy bragging about it on Facebook to all your sedentary friends. Remember: even the slowest runner in the race is lapping the guy on the couch. 🙂
Thanks, Kara! If you haven’t read her blog, It’s a Dog Lick Baby World is filled with adorable pictures of baby Faith and hilarious captions along with fantastic running. Please click over and check it out!
Also, my giveaway is still running HERE if you haven’t entered. Go comment on it for an extra entry if you are reading this.